Page:The Mystery of the Sea.djvu/194

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CHAPTER XXI

THE OLD FAR WEST AND THE NEW


Presently Marjory jumped up and said:

"Now you must get your wheel and come over to Crom. I am burning to show it to you!" We crossed the little isthmus and climbed the rocks above the Reivie o' Pircappies. As we topped the steep path I almost fell back with the start I gave.

There sat Gormala MacNiel, fixed and immovable as though she were of stone. She looked so unconcerned that I began to suspect her. At first she seemed not to notice us; but I could see that she was looking at us under her eyelashes. I was anxious to find out how long she had been there, so I said, mentioning her name in order that Marjory might know who she was:

"Why, Gormala, what has become of you? I thought you were off again to the Islands. We haven't seen you for a long time." She replied in her usual uncompromising way:

"I hae nae doot that ye thocht me far, gin ye did na see me. Aye! Aye! the time has been lang; but I could wait: I could wait!"

"What were you waiting for?" Marjory's voice seemed almost as that of a being from another world. It was so fresh, so true, so independent that it seemed at variance with Gormala and her whole existence. As a man beside two women, I felt more as a spectator than as a participant, and my first general impression was that the New World was speaking to the Old. Gormala seemed

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